The prime suspect in the botched gun trafficking investigation known as "Fast and Furious" -- Manuel Acosta -- was taken into custody and might have been stopped from trafficking weapons to Mexico's killer drug cartel early on. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) let him go, according to new documents obtained by CBS News.MacAllister, the ATF agent whose voice was heard in conversations with the gun store owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company, let Acosta go:
An ATF "Report of Investigation" obtained by CBS News shows Border Patrol agents stopped Acosta's truck on May 29, 2010. Inspectors said they found illegal materials including an "AK type, high capacity drum magazine loaded with 74 rounds of 7.62 ammunition underneath the spare tire." They also noted ledgers including a "list of firearms such as an AR15 short and a Bushmaster" and a "reference about money given to 'killer.'"
The Border Patrol ran a check and found Acosta was already "under investigation for firearms trafficking" in Fast and Furious, so they called in the lead ATF case agent Hope MacAllister. Under questioning, Acosta allegedly described his contacts with a Mexican cartel member nicknamed "Chendi," and admitted going to Chendi's house for a shipment of narcotics.
Instead of pursuing charges, Agent MacAllister asked Acosta if he'd be willing to cooperate with federal agents. He agreed and was released. Apparently, the promised cooperation never materialized. The report notes that 17 days after Acosta was let loose, he still had "not initiated any contact with Special Agent MacAllister."HERE is a link to the Report of Investigation filed by MacAllister after the May 29, 2010 stop / interview. Notice that the names David Voth and William Newell are part of the report.
In a letter today, Congressional Republicans investigating Fast and Furious asked the Justice Department why Acosta wasn't arrested in May of 2010. They also want to know why the Justice Department failed to turn over the documents on Acosta's detainment and release, which were covered under a longstanding subpoena.